OPINION: Sabres play soft early, can't recover in Dallas

Buffalo's losing streak now hits six games
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(WGR 550) – It was too little, too late for the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, as they lost to the Dallas Stars, 4-2. After two lackluster periods, the Sabres stepped it up in the third, firing 23 shots at goalie Jake Oettinger, but they only scored once.

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In both games against Dallas this season, the Sabres couldn’t handle the size and strength of the Stars. It didn’t help that Buffalo’s best player against a team like that, Zemgus Girgensons, was injured for both games.

Buffalo’s best line, by far, in this game was Cody Eakin with John Hayden and Anders Bjork. I thought it was Bjork and Eakin’s best game since before Thanksgiving. They were finally rewarded in the third, as Eakin cut in from the right circle and stayed with the play and scored his first goal in 34 games.

There’s no other way to put it; for a lot of this game, the Sabres were just soft against a bigger, stronger and better team.

Dallas scored goals, because they were winning battles and causing turnovers. Buffalo also had a lot of laziness in its game, as players were turning off plays and gliding back on defense. They also did a very poor job of supporting each other, plus they were soft through a lot of the game.

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This wasn’t a case where you could blame Craig Anderson. Two goals were tipped in through screens, and two guys were left alone near the Buffalo net.

It took the Sabres 9:53 to get their first shot on Oettinger. At the time, the shots were 9-0 in favor of Dallas. After that, it was 40-22, Buffalo.

In the third, the Sabres got into the Dallas zone to produce pressure, because they were getting pucks in deep and into the right places that they could retrieve them.

Buffalo did miss some golden opportunities on the afternoon.

Peyton Krebs was alone off a 2-on-1 rush and shot it wide. Dylan Cozens was open in the slot on the power play and shot wide. Alex Tuch had a lane to the goalie on a 2-on-1 and tried to force a pass. Oettinger also made a great save on Rasmus Dahlin, who joined a rush late.

The Sabres went out on the road, where they’ve played better lately, and lost all four games. The team still has one more game coming on the trip, this time on Wednesday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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